Spring breeze

It's been sunny and pleasant this week in Seattle. It was a long winter, in more ways than one, and I can't remember a time when I was more happy to see the sun. I love the feel of a cool spring breeze.
I think the long hours at work and my reclusive lifestyle these past two to three months have left me feeling, I don't know, nostalgic? Lonely? Tired, for sure.
Rode the Daffodil Classic on Sunday. You can read my account of it on my RAMROD blog. 70 miles in the rain and cold. Not pleasant, but maybe rides like that will toughen me up. I remember a few of those last year early in the season, and if you want to be a cyclist in Seattle, I guess you just have to get used to it.
But my cycling diet is leaving me grumpy. Salads just don't satisfy me. Still, I need to get down a few pounds for RAMROD. Blech.
Jenny asked me for a review of the X-files Season Three DVD on Friday, and she said she needed it Monday. So of course, late Sunday night, I finally open the DVDs and leave it on in the background while surfing the web for plot synposes. It was like cramming for a college exam again. I put on the soundtrack, put the DVD on, scoured the web, pulled out my fountain pen, and started just jotting random notes down. Writing short reviews aren't easy. I fell asleep on the sofa, then I had to whip out the review in an hour at work using all my notes. Don't tell Jenny. But I think it turned out okay, and now that I remember season three, I suggest you pick it up. That was good stuff.
Finally got around to reading this article about Microsoft and his inner cadre of technical advisers. It was in the business section of an old NYT. The article talks all about Bill Gates' inner cadre of technical advisors. Seems like Bill is the type of businessman who still derives more pleasure from engineering than from running the business. I think I might be that type of manager, if I stayed in business. Anytime I read an article about these Microsoft senior folks, I feel stupid. They all have PhDs in computer science, have written all sorts of crazy software, play chess in their spare time, random stuff like that. But then I encounter some idiotic feature of some Microsoft application, and I realize that it takes more than raw smarts to design a good application.
Case in point. The other day, I was using Powerpoint, and I went to the File dropdown menu and all the save and print commands were gone. How can you hide the save and print commands? Those should never be hidden since you have to use them everytime you edit a file. This is a new feature in Office 2000, in which the application remembers the most recent commands you've used and only displays those commands. Sounds potentially smart, but it's annoyed me everytime I've encountered it. I wonder if they even user tested it. Everytime I use those menus, the commands I want are in a different place. The idea of an interface that adapts to your usage patterns sounds good in theory, but no one's nailed it yet. Consistent user interfaces still rule in my book most days.
Of course, to turn off this smart logic, I had to dig all around the menu system to find the on/off switch which took me another five minutes or so.
Saturday, I played golf with Robert, Ryan, and Kord. I haven't seen Kord for years, since my college days. He still looks the same, and he's still doing the med school thing. Gorgeous day out at Gold Mountain. I still stink at golf. I will become good at that sport one day. Maybe this is the summer to do it.
I watched Yi Yi. Winstar, respecting good cinema, actually put their screener in widescreen. What a great film. It took me three nights to finish, it was such a long film. I've never seen anything by Edward Yang before, and it's always exciting to discover a new director whose work you enjoy. I definitely need to find some of his other work. Asian cinema holds a particular appeal for me because so much of it reminds me of my own family and childhood. Yang has a very distinctive directorial style. He definitely qualifies as a director whose work, as Peter Bogdanovich put it, lets you know "who the devil made it." Interesting use of medium shots. Very few closeups. Whole scenes are shot at a medium to long range. You see characters talking inside a house, and the camera is shooting in through a window. The camera rarely moves or pans. Almost like watching a play.
Watching that film by myself over 3 nights reminded me that I need a movie buddy. I am currently without a movie buddy, which makes it tough to keep up on movies. Maybe I just have strange taste in films. Rachael could have potential, but she goes to bed way too early. Same with Bill. That would never work with my schedule. Audrey loves to watch movies, but her problem is she stays up too late. Rich only likes movies like Cool Hand Luke. His tastes are pretty narrow. Dan's got the free time, but he would also drag me to see stuff like Tomcats. So would Jason. Aaron had pretty good taste, but he's in London now. Howie doesn't really watch movies; I have no idea what's wrong with him. Jenny was pretty open-minded about movies, but she's engaged now. Bean has pretty similar tastes, but everytime I watch a movie with her she falls asleep. I must bore her to death.
Oh well, maybe I don't need a movie buddy. Maybe I can get Karen to move out to Seattle. I used to drag her to all sorts of movies. A willing soul she was.
Jason bought me a new rolling backpack/luggage thingy. My garment bag, I have to admit, was looking pretty pathetic. The wheels don't roll, the side of the bag has torn completely open. It's the end of an era. I had that thing since my consulting days. It was the first piece of luggage my mom ever bought for me. Strange, how you'll replace certain things which are in perfectly good condition, just because they bore you, while you'll remain loyal to the most beat up, trivial things like a pair of bike gloves which would cost a pittance to replace.
Went to Peter's engagement party on Sunday. Finally got to meet his fiancee Klara. He's been staying with a woman who has been here in Seattle for years and has many ties to UW and the Seattle art community. That house was amazing! Some of the artwork hanging on the walls has toured through museums like MOMA in NYC. Chatting with all of Peter's acting friends, I realize I have a large gap in my life now that most of my friends are from work. I lack melodramatic, eccentric artist friends. Chatting with people like that is so easy. They're always on stage.
I wanted to just stay in that house. It was like an artist's womb.